Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Inventory

University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Oran Milo Roberts Papers, 1815-1897



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Roberts, Oran Milo
Title: Roberts, Oran Milo Papers
Dates: 1815-1897
Abstract: The papers of Oran Milo Roberts (1815–1898), jurist and governor of Texas, include correspondence, diary, reminiscences, legal documents, military orders, notebook, lecture notes, speeches, lawyer’s case book, certificate, scrapbook, literary productions, broadsides, pamphlets, clippings, and photographs.
Accession No.: 1898; 1926
Extent: 5 ft., 6 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Oran Milo Roberts (1815–1898) was a jurist and governor of Texas, 1879-1883. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1836, was admitted to the bar in 1837, and moved in 1841 to San Augustine, Texas, where he opened a successful law practice. In 1844, Sam Houston appointed Roberts district attorney of San Augustine, and in 1866, Governor James Pinckney Henderson appointed him district judge. Roberts also taught law at the University of San Augustine.

Roberts earned a position on the Texas Supreme Court in 1856, and in 1861 was elected president of the Secession Convention in Austin. After a brief military career in the Eleventh Texas Infantry of Walker’s Texas Division, which he helped raise and organize, Roberts returned to Austin. There he served as chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, 1864-1865.

During Reconstruction Roberts was elected a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and was also elected United States senator. However, during this time there was a majority of Radical Republicans, who refused to seat the Texas delegates, Roberts included. Eventually, Roberts moved to Gilmer, Texas, and opened a law school in 1868. In 1874, Democrats once more took the majority in Austin, and Roberts was appointed and then elected to the Texas Supreme Court. He served as chief justice for four years and then in 1878 was elected governor of Texas.

The University of Texas at Austin was founded in 1883, just before Roberts’s term as governor was slated to end, and he was appointed professor of law. He held this position until 1893, when he moved to Marble Falls to focus on writing. Some of his works include A Description of Texas: Its Advantages and Resources (1881); The Elements of Texas Pleading (1890); and Our Federal Relations, from a Southern View of Them (1892).

Roberts returned to Austin in 1895 and was instrumental in the foundation of the Texas State Historical Association, becoming the first president of the organization. Roberts married Francis W. Edwards in 1837, and they had seven children. In 1887, four years after Francis died, Roberts married Mrs. Catherine E. Border. He died in Austin in 1898.

Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Roberts, Oran Milo," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/RR/fro18.html (accessed May 20, 2010).

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Scope and Contents

The Oran Milo Roberts Papers, 1815-1897, include correspondence, diary, reminiscences, legal documents, military orders, notebook, lecture notes, speeches, lawyer’s case book, certificate, scrapbook, literary productions, broadsides, pamphlets, clippings, and photographs concerning Roberts’s business and political activities. The papers specifically relate to Roberts’ activities as a student at the University of Alabama, a lawyer, San Augustine district attorney and district judge, and president of the board of trustees and lecturer in law at the university of San Augustine. Additionally, the papers relate to Roberts’ time as an associate justice and chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, a president of the Texas Secession Convention, a colonel and organizer of the 11th Texas Infantry, a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1866, a United States Senator who was refused his seat, a Texas governor, a professor of law at the University of Texas, and a historical author.

Items of note in the Roberts collection include autobiographical materials, transcripts of lectures and speeches, a literary production of "A History of the War in Texas," and an 1881 proclamation convening the Board of Regents for the University of Texas at Austin.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Roberts, Oran Milo, 1815-1898--Archives.
Ballinger, William Pitt, 1825-1888
Burnet, David Gouverneur, 1789-1870
Throckmorton, J. W. (James Webb), 1825-1894
Subjects (Organizations)
University of San Augustine (San Augustine, Tex.)
Texas. Governor
Texas. Supreme Court
Texas. Convention (1861)
Texas. Constitutional Convention (1868-1869)
University of Texas at Austin
Texas State Historical Association
Subjects
Lawyers--Texas
Education--Texas
Places
Ashville (Ala.)
Washington (D.C.)
Austin (Tex.)
Marble Falls (Tex.)
Tyler (Tex.)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Oran Milo Roberts Papers, 1815-1897, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011. Finding aid encoded by Keelee James, April 2013.

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Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory

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2F473 Biographical:
Autobiography collection of Oran Milo Roberts’ writings and acts
Autobiographical account of Oran Milo Roberts’ education
Diplomas
Licenses
Certificates of election
Commission and related clippings
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2F474
Reminiscences at University of Alabama, 1833-1836
Journal of 1866
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2F474 Correspondence, typescripts:
Volume I, regarding Oran Milo Roberts’ law practice, 1845-1846
Volume II, regarding Oran Milo Roberts’ law practice, 1857-1866
Volume III, regarding Oran Milo Roberts’ term as District Attorney, Judgeship, and candidacy for Congress
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2F475
Volume III, regarding Oran Milo Roberts’ term as District Attorney, Judgeship, and candidacy for Congress
Volume IV, regarding current events in which Oran Milo Roberts was involved or interested, 1867-1875
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2F476
Volume V, regarding current events, 1875-1881
Volume VI, regarding political events and current events in Texas, 1881-1890
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2F477 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1839-1897
Photostat
Manuscript
Literary productions, “A History of the War in Texas,” notes and manuscript
Lectures:
On Scientific Subjects
On the Government, Constitution, and Jurisprudence of Texas
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2F478 Literary production:
“Worldly proverbs—Letters on the Blair School Bill and mandamus Case, and on Supreme Court cases in which he gave an opinion”
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2R162 Lectures:
“On the Government, Constitution and Jurisprudence of Texas”
“Chemistry and Chemical Action Simplified”
“San Augustine and the Red lands of Texas”
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2R163 Speeches:
“The Prehistoric man and Lower Animals of Texas”
Campaign speeches, 1879
Inaugural address, 1879
“Vindication of his first two years as Governor of Texas” 1880
“Speech on the Crisis" 1860
“Message to Congress" 1883
“Speech before the military Commission" 1869
Volume III, regarding Oran Milo Roberts’ term as District Attorney, Judgeship, and candidacy for Congress
Articles:
Letters as to the right of Governor Coke to succeed Governor Davis, 1884
“The Convention of 1836”
“Primitive Christian Education”
“Coal in Texas”
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2R164 Literary productions by others:
David Burnett’s criticism of Houston and his Republic, by Edward Lester
Miscellaneous speeches by others
Business and legal notebooks
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2M405 Clippings:
Secession and Civil War times
Relating to Oran Milo Roberts, 1848-1891
Political matters, 1894-1896
Relating to his election and administration, 1878-1880
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2M406
Relating to his administration
List of the members of the House of Representatives, 1866
Broadsides
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2N32 Correspondence:
Volume III, 1844-1861
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2G68
Volume IV, 1861-1875
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2G67
Volume V, 1875-1881
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2C483
Volume I, 1845-1856
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2N32
Volume II, 1857-1866
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2G66
Volume VI, 1881-1897
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3S140 Proclamation convening Board of Regents for University of Texas, 1881
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3T112 Photograph of Oran M. Roberts, made in Galveston, 1861
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Artifact Collection

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